Reducing costs with Adwords Ad Scheduling

I am still having a love/hate relationship with the Adwords Display Network. It’s a great place to find extra traffic, especially from people who were not actually looking for a product like you’re offering. But that also means the quality of the traffic is lower.
And advertising on the Display Network doesn’t come cheap. For my target sites, a minimum bid of 20 to 30 cents is required to get impressions and even then you only get shown on the lower quality sites.

However, I don’t want to completely stop advertising on the Display Network. It is still too useful in creating awareness of my products in the right audience. (some marketing dudes call that “branding”, but I hate that word…)

So I am trying something different now: Adwords Ad Scheduling.

I am using Ad Scheduling to only show my ads on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
(at, we sell software for home users, so the weekend days are our best days of the week, with the highest conversion rates)
This lets me reduce costs, without lowering bids. I actually increased my bids somewhat, to make sure I get impressions.

Using remarketing to sell more software

Earlier this week, Dave Collins asked for feedback on remarketing. I have already posted some remarks in the comments under his blog post, but then I thought, why not write about my experience with remarketing in a longer blog post. So here it is.

First, a quick reminder of what remarketing is:

Remarketing is a cookie-based advertising system that lets you show your ads to people who have already visited your website.
Your ads can appear on any site that the user visits after visiting yours.

For example: A user visits my Movie Collector product page (it doesn’t matter where he came from, an ad, organic result, a link on another website, etc…). Now after he visits my website, this user goes on to browse the internet, visiting other websites. And suddenly everywhere he goes, he sees Movie Collector ads. Leaderboards, towers, inline rectangles, even little text ads. My ads are following him around the web.

One important thing to understand: remarketing ads do not only appear on websites related to your product, like your regular display network ads. No, they appear everywhere, on any site. Remarketing lets you target specific users on any site, as opposed to all users on specific sites.

Remarketing for software

I started using Remarketing for our software 2 years ago, when Adwords started offering it. Like most advertising and marketing tools, it didn’t work right out-of-the-box. It took a bit of tweaking and tuning to make it effective, but ultimately I found that remarketing can be a great fit for software vendors, especially if you use some kind of “try-before-you-buy” system.
Here’s some factors I played around with:

  • Message
  • Targeting, or: who to cookie?
  • Audience Membership Duration and Frequency Capping
  • Bidding type: CPC or CPA
  • Reducing the creepiness

Let’s discuss these one by one: Continue reading